BY SABRINA HORNUNG – HPR EDITOR IN CHIEF
It’s time to let the cat out of the bag. We will be working with ieiMedia, Valley City State University journalism instructor Steve Listopad and eight journalism students from across the nation and Canada. They have been overseas since the end of May. Their intent is to imbed themselves in Norwegian musical and cultural events as part of their “Oslo Rocks!” Project. And Rock it does..On June 12 Raul and I will be skipping across the pond to Oslo Norway to join them.
This particular trip centralizes upon rock journalism. Oslo is home to three international music festivals and is host to multiple music venues. Plus, Oslo Pride will be going on–need we say more?
Rock journalism isn’t the only focus of this trip, stories will be collected surrounding the history, culture, and our deep seeded Norwegian roots–that only prove this wide world isn’t as big as we thought it was. According to norway.org, over 33% of North Dakota is of Norwegian descent and 55% of the Midwestern population claims Norwegian ancestry. Needless to say this pairing is a match made in Valhalla.
For our June 9, 16, 23, and 30 issue we will be publishing the students’ writing, photos, art, and videos. So please be sure to keep your eyes on not only our print editions, but keep an eye on our website as well. Follow our journey on facebook, instagram, and twitter via #oslorocks.
We’ve been researching everything from vikings to rosemaling to blackmetal. Now it’s time to ask our readers–what are your ties to Norway? Please feel free to tweet or instagram @hprfm and let’s open up our line of communication. We would love to hear from you!
In our research we have found many Midwest to Norway connections. Whether it be a North Dakota prairie church disassembled and relocated to a museum across the ocean as a tribute to those who immigrated to the United States, or whether it be an American Lutheran Church located in downtown Oslo (Norway) with strong midwest connections–who we found out just hosted a square dance last week.
Kaitlyn Huss, one of the talented student writers, even connected with a Fargo born DJ, namely DJ Della whose love of electronic music budded and blossomed in the 90s FM rave scene. It’s inspiring to see someone follow their passion and to see it take them around the world.
We have a very intimate connection with Norway in this region. Just look at a North Dakota or Minnesota map. With towns named after Norwegian cities such as Bergan, Rollag and Oslo dotting the prairie it’s not too hard to see where those pioneers came from and to recognize the culture that came with them. Interestingly enough there were publications in the area who published Norwegian and German language publications well past the 1950s.
What is so interesting about our area is those small pockets of culture scattered around our state, who are so adamant about keeping their roots intact. There is a small group of painters who practice rosemaling, that meet up at The Sons of Norway every Monday night to congregate and practice their folk art. Fueled by the sounds of the accordion band who also meet up for practice in the same building.
Rosemaling is a traditional folk art that originated in Norway. Each style of rosemaling–or floral painting is regionally specific and can be distinguished by specific patterns and colors to a trained eye. Ironically there are more rosemalers in the midwest than in Scandinavia. Traditionalists are even known to turn down a commission if a non-traditional color palette is suggested.
The Norwegian culture that we identify with may be the traditions that we have grown up with, whether it be through familial or community ties that have been passed down from as far back as the dawn of statehood or whether it be through a new friend that sat by you in your high school sign language class, it all adds to the complex recipe of our communal melting pot and local flavor.
Now would be the time for us to make our political endorsements, but we must respectfully decline considering one of the City Commission candidates is very near and dear to the heart of the High Plains Reader. Good luck candidates and may the best man or woman win.